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Feeding the survivors: Food Security in a Post Covid World

Nov 17, 2020 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm UTC+2

ZAG Consultants, based in Cape Town, South Africa, is hosting an interactive panel discussion as part of the Government After Shock day #1 event programme. This event will bring together a panel of food activists from different sectors and respondents from the government.

In 2017 there were over 4 million households in South Africa, in both rural and urban areas, which had inadequate food supplies and experienced hunger.

Even before Covid, more than a quarter of South African children were developmentally and physically stunted as a result of poor nutrition. Post-Covid – how much worse will it be?

The Government After Shock conversation challenges us all to answer 3 key questions:

Ø  What do we need to leave behind from this shock?

Ø  What do we want to keep?

Ø  What should we do differently?

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Event reflections

These reflections are from the event host.

Summary of the event

We hosted an interactive 2 hour, panel webinar. Our panel was made up of food activists whose
involvement in food production ranged from urban community gardens to research as well as a political party respondent. Each panellist was asked to give input to the 3 questions and the politician was then asked to respond, after each question.

My primary motivation for getting involved in the project was to raise awareness of our challenges on a global platform and making it an international discussion, that may unlock in the future support for our local initiatives.

What was the most powerful idea, insight or realisation that came out of the event?

In food, we’ve forgotten about people’s constitutional right for food. People shouldn’t have to rely on charity. Food Security is not a private individual issue and not a social issue. We all carry the burden as a society to ensure that good food is available to all.

The solution is not producing more food – there is an under-appreciation of the market system, getting food to where it needs to be rather than production. The problem in the food production system is that the Rights of corporates (agribusinesses) are more important than people’s rights. We need to leave behind reliance on industrial monopolistic food systems, and the siloed approach where the power is in a few hands, instead what we really need are distributed food systems.

Leave behind the thought that we are separate from nature – many of our issues are as a result of
environmental degradation.

What do we collectively need to keep talking about?

  • People dying daily from hunger! and why that is not the no 1 topic being discussed globally, by everybody.
  • Food Security versus corporate greed
  • Agriculture practises vs environmental degradation
  • The impact of the lack of food on human behaviours and community stability
  • The migration of people and the link to food security
  • The inadequate policies of governments tackling the issue
  • The money that gets wasted on funding wars, instead of feeding people.
  • The tendency to apportion blame and punish the poor for being poor.

Reflecting back on the event, what key insights or conclusions can be shared about what should be “left behind” beyond the crisis? (ex. What has proven to no longer fit in the current context?)

We need to look to a new value system and leave behind that old system – we need to look at the
governments’ role in developing that new system.

We are connected and the earth and realise that the earth’s resources are limited. We need to learn how to respond to other crisis’s that we face as a society including climate change, how we respond to each other, solidarity with each other that we saw early on in the lock-down, particularly around food security.

The government needs to examine what human beings are entitled to by simply being human beings. Food and adequate nutrition are what we are entitled to and if we can’t access those, the government should provide the necessary support.

Reflecting back on the event, what key insights or conclusions can be shared about what should be “kept” beyond the crisis? (ex. What has proven to be important, what were things introduced in crisis response that should be kept after?)

The overwhelming theme of community and solidarity. A sense of selflessness, culture of kindness and compassion and dignity – we’ve seen people rally around and share their meagre food sources with others. That sense of Ubuntu and selflessness and helping others.

The awareness of affluent societies within our country becoming aware of the hunger being experienced by people, right on their doorsteps.

People didn’t easily give up hope despite what people were reading in the news and the conversations they were hearing in the hallway. People didn’t give up hope!

Reflecting back on the event, what key insights or conclusions can be shared about what collectively we should “do differently” beyond the crisis?

  • Have a genuine authentic focus on biodiversity and indigenous people, and not just a tick box exercise for international relations. Invest in Regenerative farming practices.
  • Farmers need funding and support from the government so that they can buy land, get the training and access the tools required to farm sustainably.
  • Climate change and its impact should become more dominant in the school’s curriculum from grade 1 and all the way through to grade 12.
  • We should make the problem of food security a priority – it’s given a couple of lines and it needs to be a priority, as there are so many other implications that are related to food shortages.
  • The government should create a dedicated portfolio for food security, at the moment. No one is responsible for the full food system – it should be a full systems approach.



Nov 17, 2020
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm UTC+2
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Zag Consultants
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